Uncontested (or Flat Fee) Divorce: An Explainer

By: Cody Farrens | January 2022 | Family Law

Not every divorce has to become an expensive and emotionally taxing fight. Simply put, uncontested divorces (or amicable divorces) are when the parties agree on the issues (such as property division, allocation of debts, alimony, child custody, child support, etc.). Uncontested divorces are becoming more and more common as people realize the fight is oftentimes not worth it – both emotionally and financially.

We are proud to offer flat fees for uncontested divorces to take all the guesswork out of the process. We can help you and your spouse go from filing the petition to finalizing the agreement for a simple flat rate.

What are the benefits to an uncontested divorce? Divorce - Divorce Agreement

It is almost impossible to overestimate how much time and energy you will save if you and your spouse can agree on the terms of a divorce. In the short term, an uncontested divorce will reduce the amount of time it takes to finalize the divorce, reduce the financial burden, and remove the chance of arbitrary court decisions (meaning you and your spouse are in total control). Long-term, the advantages are even more important. Experience shows that when spouses are able to work out their differences without contested litigation (especially when kids are involved), they are better able to co-parent and effectively navigate the divorce after it is finalized. Rarely do our uncontested divorces come back for contempt proceedings or modifications, because both parties were part of the process and understood the final agreement. Very simply – working with your ex-spouse, whether it concerns financial matters or child custody matters, becomes much more difficult when the parties are immediately placed in an adversarial position.

What are the issues we need to address?

Because each case is unique, it is impossible to state exactly what issues are important to your situation. Having said this, you will need to have a discussion and an agreement on the following issues:

  • Alimony (spousal maintenance)
  • Child custody (legal custody and physical care)
  • Child support (or at least agree to abide by the Child Support Guidelines)
  • Health insurance (who will provide insurance for the children?)
  • Marital home (will one of you keep it, will it be sold and split the proceeds)
  • Retirement accounts (401k, IPERS, IRAs)
  • Assets (cars, vehicles, collectibles, etc.)
  • Debts (credit cards, medical debt, unsecured loans)

If you generally agree on these issues, an uncontested divorce may be the best route for you.

My spouse and I agree – what do we do next?

Diorce - Sioux City Lawyer- UncontestedIf you agree on those items, give our attorneys a call and set up a free consultation. We will almost always have questions you have not considered, but experience shows if there is an agreement on the issues identified above, the miscellaneous issues rarely create unsurmountable hurdles.

Do we both need a lawyer?

No. It is common for our law firm to help couples navigate the process without involving an attorney for each side, which is one of the greatest cost savings associated with uncontested divorces. Give our attorneys a call and we can further explain exactly how the representation works when only one side has an attorney.

How quickly can we get divorced?

As always – it depends. If you are in Iowa, we can process a divorce almost as quickly as you get us the information to draft the agreement. Iowa does have a 90-day waiting period (wherein the court will not grant a divorce), but that period is easily waived if both sides agree. In both South Dakota and Nebraska, you will have to wait at least 60 days. But that is still much quicker than proceeding the traditional way.

Are there any legal differences on modifying or enforcing uncontested divorce agreements?

No. At the conclusion of any divorce proceeding, you will have paperwork showing either the agreement, or if the case did go to trial, what the court decided. There is no legal difference whether you reached an agreement cordially or whether it took years of litigation. The effect is the same, except with an uncontested divorce, you didn’t have to engage in the lengthy and contested process. The same rules regarding modification apply, and if either side refuses to follow the agreement, the same rules of contempt apply.

Call our office for a free consultation to discuss whether an uncontested divorce is right for you.

WHERE CAN I FIND THE BEST ATTORNEY TO HELP ME WITH MY LEGAL MATTERS?

As always, the lawyers at Vriezelaar, Tigges, Edgington, Bottaro, Boden & Lessmann Law Firm are centered on providing exceptional legal services to the people of Siouxland and the surrounding area. The attorneys pride themselves on being first-rate advocates, ensuring their client’s rights and interests are protected and each voice is always heard. Using their knowledge, expertise, and over 240 years collective experience, they aim to deliver the best results possible for their clients.

THEY ARE SIOUX CITY LAWYERS YOU CAN DEPEND ON…

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